Tolled highways may soon become part of everyday life in Cincinnati

The unwillingness of lawmakers to approve an increase to gasoline taxes is causing otherwise unforeseen effects. State officials from both Ohio and Kentucky have already stated that the reconstruction of the Brent Spence Bridge will require modern tolling, and now Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) is expanding the idea by proposing the use of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the reconstructed portion of I-75 through Hamilton County, in order to help pay for other state transportation projects. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

The Ohio Department of Transportation will launch a study in coming months to examine charging tolls to motorists who want to travel quickly in uncongested lanes. Motorists could pay to use these so-called “price-managed” lanes, or continue to travel for free in lanes jammed with heavy traffic.

Price-managed lanes have become a national trend as states face transportation budget shortfalls and rising congestion in urban areas. The two-year, $105 billion federal transportation bill passed last summer opened the door for states to do more tolling – and Ohio is jumping in.

Gov. John Kasich launched an aggressive effort early this year to consider tolling and other alternative funding to eliminate a $1.6 billion transportation deficit and move up construction schedules on projects across the state…At some point, the I-75 corridor stretching from the Western Hills Viaduct to I-275 could be added to the list of highways eligible for price-managed lanes. That’s because the $980 million I-75 construction projects – separated into two, eight-phase plans known as the Mill Creek Expressway and Thru the Valley – call for one new lane to be added in each direction.

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  • Dan

    if only there was some sort of railed thingy that could carry large numbers of commuters at once

  • You guys really don’t want these HOT lanes. You’ve already paid for the roads. Don’t give them away.

    • Except gas taxes and license/registration fees, especially in KY, don’t pay for the full price any road, hence the large funding shortfall on this massive project.

    • If by “we” you mean the chinese government’s purchases of U.S. bonds and the non-gas taxes of those who never use 75, you are right.

  • Mark Christol

    I can see problems with privilege lanes. A tax on vehicle weight & miles driven would be a better way to go.

    • It’s a hard nut to crack – getting people to finally pay for something that has been subsidized for a generation. It might not be perfect, but it’s a baby step in the right direction towards eventually sustainable infrastructure. We’re still fairly far off from being able to effectively tax based on the exact use of the infrastructure; but it’s coming eventually. A lot has to happen in terms of technology before it’s practical and widespread.

  • Glad it’s finally surfacing to the general public that roads aren’t free. Now you can add tolls to your expense list that includes a car payment, insurance premium, gas, maintenance, and license/registration fees.

  • John Schneider

    I’m amused by the complaints coming from Tea Party types about tolling the new Brent Spence Bridge, especially in light of their complaints that the Cincinnati Streetcar “doesn’t pay for itself.”

  • Jibreel Riley

    Roads don’t pay for themselves and Cincinnati has enough parking ramps